Pinkerton Class of 2015 Heads Out into the World

When Brad Ek, former Headmaster and current chair of Trustees, graduated from Pinkerton Academy in 1958, it was very different.

“We had three buildings,” he told a crowd of graduating seniors and their loved ones. “You could earn 16 credits. Boys’ football, basketball and baseball were the three sports.”

He’s seen Londonderry and Windham leave to start their own schools, and Hampstead, Auburn and Hooksett come on board, and the campus expand to 15 buildings and 300 course offerings.

Pinkerton Academy sent its Class of 2015 out into the world Monday afternoon, June 15. To the cheers of crowds reaching to the rafters of the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, more than 700 students marched in as seniors and marched out as graduates. Though the parents snapped pictures with their phones and the ceremony was broadcast on a Jumbotron, the hopes and dreams were the same as they were when Ek left the Derry campus in 1958.

Friends and relatives crowded the arena with balloons and bouquets. At exactly 4 p.m. a bell chimed and they quieted to watch the trustees, deans and Headmaster Griffin Morse file in. Then the students marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the Pinkerton band. They came in from two sides and converged at the center aisle, splitting again to take their seats on either side of the aisle until the floor of the Verizon was a sea of red and white.

The audience responded with screaming, whistling and cowbells, and the Jumbotron paused to focus in on a scrubbed young face or the particular detail on a mortarboard.

Dean of Students Glenn Ahrens introduced five senior girls, Lauren Batchelder, Jillian Cassavant, Stephanie Modrak, Angelia Scheri and Sophia Shay, who sang the National Anthem a cappella. The Anthem was signed by Elizabeth Richardson and Michaela Stubbs.

Krista Mastrogiacomo, one of the Top Five students in the class, introduced Rabbi Peter Levy of Etz Hayim Synagogue, who gave the opening prayer. Mikaela Hamilton, also from the Top Five, gave a welcome.

Dean of Faculty Beverly Lannan introduced Salutatorian Sara Tridenti. Lannan described Tridenti as “inventive, motivated and disciplined,” a student who completed 17 Advanced Placement and Honors courses.

Though Tridenti has received many honors over her four years, culminating in the designation of “Salutatorian,” she warned the graduates that it’s not about the trophies. “Records will not immortalize us, we won’t be found on Wikipedia, and nearly all our hard work will have been for nothing,” she said. But that’s okay, Tridenti added: “We are lucky, for it is only through our inefficacy to be remembered that we can learn to value the small, defining moments which time erodes.

“We don’t need history to make a difference,” Tridenti said.

Academic Dean Chris Harper introduced Valedictorian Rebekah Terry. He cited Terry’s love of learning for its own sake, noting that she recently completed a senior independent research study on astrophysics in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire.

Terry admitted that she left off writing her speech until the last minute. “I could not come up with a universal recipe for success to leave you with because I’m not even sure of my own future,” she told her classmates.

But Pinkerton has prepared her and her classmates for anything, Terry added: “that surprise deadline, workplace conflict, important interview, rigorous college class, impromptu speech.

“Use what Pinkerton has given you, and find your own message,” Terry exhorted.

Headmaster Morse gave his “three cents worth” of advice, including, “Think, take a running start and scramble.” He explained that if the graduates think they can do something or they think they can’t, they’re right. He warned them about times when things won’t work out and urged them to “take a running start” and come back stronger. And he urged them to be flexible and learn to “scramble,” noting that the U.S. Department of Labor has estimated that their generation will hold 10 to 14 different jobs by the time they turn 38 and that 65 percent of those jobs haven’t been invented yet.

“Where does that leave you?” Morse asked. “On your toes, learning and preparing to acquire more skills.”

Associate Deans Roger Konstant, Bill Lonergan, Tina Tanguay, Suzanne Trice and Kevin Yahnian took turns announcing National Merit Scholar finalists and commended scholars, members of the New Hampshire Scholars Initiative, recipients of the Pinkerton Award, and recipients of Pinkerton-related scholarships, with Yahnian noting that including community scholarships and scholarships directly from the college, this class has garnered more than $10 million in scholarships, grants and awards.

Harper introduced the recipients of the Honors Diploma. These students took a minimum of six honors courses, earning grades of 85 or better, and filled out their schedules with A-level courses earning grades of 80 or better. In addition, he said, they were responsible for a senior project covering several disciplines and tailored to their interests.

Top Five student Emma Roalsvig introduced Chairman of the Board of Trustees Brad Ek. “He has dedicated his life to Pinkerton,” Roalsvig said, pointing out that Ek came to the school as a science teacher and basketball coach, moved into administration as assistant headmaster two years later, and in 1974 began a 29-year career as Headmaster.

Ek brought congratulations from the Board of Trustees and said, “Your success will be determined by your efforts as you move through life.”

Ek touched on the high expectations for both students and staff and said, “My hope is that every graduate commits their best effort, in spite of the setbacks along the way.”

And they will, he said, noting that “Many graduates come back and say how well Pinkerton prepared them.”

“Are you ready?” Ek asked, and both graduates and their loved ones responded with a deafening roar of “Yes!” And from Lucas Matthew Abdallah to Brianna Marie Zyla, they turned their tassels and stepped out into the world.

The Top 10 are Terry, Tridenti, Hamilton, Roalsvig, Mastrogiacomo, Kaila Cote, Emma Garner, Micaela Griffin, Courtney Newcomb and Peter Sieg.

Class officers are Noah Jarvis, president; Tyler Busby, vice-president; Haley Harrington, secretary; Elisabeth Cox, treasurer; Alexandra Harasym, historian; Olivia Tracy, communications coordinator; Amanda Szostak, social services coordinator; Samantha McGrath, fund-raising coordinator; Margaret McCarthy, social coordinator; Alexander Popovich, publicity coordinator; and Olivia Oberlin, Samantha Potter, Ceceila Sciuto and Sara Tridenti, officers at large.

Senior Student Council members are Devin McMahon, president; Bradley Smith, vice-president; Allyson Rugg, secretary; Russell York, treasurer; and Shawn Grinnell, Courtney Newcomb, Conor Phelps, Sophia Shay, Mark Stubbs, Joseph Taglilatela and Cassie Woodes.